4 – H Goes Virtual During COVID-19

March 11, 2021

The year of virtual 4-H programming started in March when our summer camps, school visits and fairs were canceled. Luckily 4-H teaches creative thinking and problem solving. Here we are in October having reached more youth during the pandemic than we had in the summer of 2019. In May we launched the Upstate Fishing Project from Spartanburg and Union County with 58 participants from around the state. These 4-H members fished all summer and recorded every catch, while making important observations about their environment and weather conditions. We also launched the Spartanburg County Tomato Project where youth were given 2 tomato plants

to grow at home and complete a record book on their experience. In early June Spartanburg Launched its first ever Summer Camp Kits where families could order one of four kits with 5-8 activities each to do at home in leu of traditional day camps, we had 95 participants in the first round. We offered Pinterest, Science Fun with Kitchen Chemistry, Cloverbud and Embryology options. This was so popular we decided to offer it again in July with new Pinterest, Nature, Cloverbud and Embryology options. We were still getting calls and emails requesting the embryology project, so we ended up offering it two more times having a total of 65 families incubate and hatch chickens at home. Many of these families were first time 4-H participants and have decided to join 4-H for the 2020-2021 year because of their experiences this summer. In August we hosted a virtual cooking camp with 28 youth participants learning to cook at home.
In a typical year September is the launch of a new 4-H year and that includes school visits and lots of after school programming. However, due to covid-19 restrictions we were not able to launch all the in-person clubs that we would normally. Again, we had to get creative and we started offering virtual 4-H clubs. We have clubs that focus on specific project areas and meet anywhere

from once a week to once a month. These clubs include a cooking, sewing, robotics and horse club. We were able to resume our partnership with the Upstate Boys & Girls Clubs and are offering 4-H activities to 3rd-5th graders at two sites and hoping to start with the other schools soon. This fall we will continue to operate virtually for 4-H club meetings, but we have plans for fall and winter break kits available to 4-H families.  4-H is available to all youth ages 5-18. We also have plenty of volunteer opportunities for caring adults.

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